Yesterday, I talked about the first 12-13 minutes (depending on whether or not you want to count the opening studio logos and such) of Hugo and how brilliant they are.
Today — well, I’m just gonna keep going and see where I end up. We start where we left off, just at the title card, which is just about 13 minutes into the film. In fact, this next screenshot I’m about to post happens exactly 13 minutes into the film. Talk about being concise:
1936 is a year I feel was the first real Academy decision. You know? Typically, when I say “Academy decision,” I mean one of those films that — of course it won Best Picture. From Here to Eternity, The Sound of Music, Forrest Gump, Titanic — films that you know were gonna win Best Picture no matter their quality. The English Patient. That’s an Academy decision. It’s big, expensive, and it has all the things the Academy likes in their films.
The Great Ziegfeld, to me, is the first obvious Best Picture winner. Strange though, that its director didn’t also win Best Director. That went to Frank Capra for Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (talked about here). That decision makes no sense to me at all. Best Actress was Luise Rainer for Ziegfeld (talked about here), which I think was a bad decision, but one I can sort of understand based on the category. It’s worse, though, that she won the year after this as well. It highlights all the reasons she shouldn’t have won here. Best Supporting Actor (the first in the category’s history) was Walter Brennan for Come and Get It. If anyone should have won the first Best Supporting Actor Oscar, it was Walter Brennan. And Best Supporting Actress was Gale Sondergaard for Anthony Adverse (talked about here). I do not understand this decision at all, and I feel Alice Brady was a much better decision in almost every way.
Which brings us to this category. Paul Muni was gonna win an Oscar at some point. It was only a matter of time. Here’s a dude who just bled Oscar. Everything he did, it seemed, was worth a nomination. He’s the only guy to have his very first performance (The Valiant) and his last performance (The Last Angry Man) be nominated for Oscars. Thing is, though — I don’t think he should have won here. He deserved it, but I don’t think this should have been his year.
BEST ACTOR – 1936
And the nominees were…
Gary Cooper, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
Walter Huston, Dodsworth
Paul Muni, The Story of Louis Pasteur
William Powell, My Man Godfrey
Spencer Tracy, San Francisco (more…)